Re: telematics

Scott deLahunta (
Wed, 05 Mar 1997 11:16:34 +0100

Hello Sandi,

Thanks for your comments on audience. Your practical description of the
viewing and/or reading audience is clear... and I wouldn't argue with the
possibility that one could extend this description to the net. I was being
more theoretical in my thoughts -- I meant an 'audience' for 'art' and was
making the simple equation between 'art' as a contested zone since the
beginning of this century starting with Duchamp... which reflects on the
questions regarding definition and meaning which have preoccupied us (as
artists or audience) since then. Related to this is the death of the author
as proposed by Barthes in mid-century and the birth of the reader as author.
I was also thinking of my recent look at Arthur Danto's essays compiled in
his new book *the end of art*. He proposes that 'art' as a coherent
narrative established in the Renaissance has reached its logical end as a
story -- and we are poised at the beginning of a new story. What I am
pondering is the possibility that the net, with its inherently more
destablized and dematerialized cultural center, is forming part of the
beginnings of a new definition of art (and audience by association). If art
is being redefined (which may entail a disappearance), then it seems logical
that audience may be redefined (or disappear) -- both will obviously
reappear or are reappearing in some 'new' form which we could continue to
call art/audience. Whether we strain to radically reinterpret the notion of
artists or audience... or not -- is up to each one of us.

As regards my last question on 'spectacle' -- I was referring to Debord who,
in his technophobic *society of the spectacle*, seems to me to have been
primarily concerned with questions of presence/absence -- but this dialectic
is, if you agree with Katherine Hayles, being
displaced by one of pattern/randomness. This is another radical shift which
is happening at the tail end of the 20th century as a result, partly, of the
net... and it signals a move away from theories related to the body (which I
would connect to audience) and towards theories related to information...

So, these are my thoughts... not very coherent I'm afraid, but maybe gives
more of a sense of where I was coming from. Thanks for your response Sandi...


Scott deLahunta and Susan Rethorst
Writing Research Associates, NL
Sarphatipark 26-3, 1072 PB Amsterdam, NL
tel: +31 (0)20 662 1736
fax: +31 (0)20 470 1558